Bowman, Taylor & Chalmers Weigh In On Total Medals vs Gold Medals Ranking Debate

2023 WORLD AQUATICS CHAMPIONSHIPS

We struck a nerve with some readers and spectators of the 2023 World Championships when we called out NBC for ranking nations in the swimming medal table by total count instead of the traditional number of golds.

The network’s change in ranking reared its head on day six and continued through the meet, despite the fact that Australia ultimately wound up with the most number of golds and, therefore, atop the medal table.

Australian media (The Sydney Morning Herald) put the question of ‘which country is actually deemed the winner’ to two of the most respected coaches on the planet, Bob Bowman of the United States and Australian national head coach Rohan Taylor.

“There are a number of ways to calculate it,” Bowman said this week in response to the question. “Total number, USA. Gold medals, pick which one you like. Which one do you like?”

He continued, “We lost some close races. We haven’t won as many but I do think we’ve had great effort and by and large the racing has been good compared to individual standards. Obviously, we’d like to win more gold medals.

“As a team [Australia] have swum amazing. Their depth, particularly in some of the women’s sprinting, is beyond belief. It’s quite good. They have covered all the bases.

For his part, Taylor said, “[It’s] the gold medals [count]. That’s how I look at it.

“For us, [former Australian coach] Don Talbot always said the only thing that mattered was gold. I was brought through the system that way. When you look at the World Aquatics medal table, it has the gold medals [first]. At an Olympics … it’s golds.

“At the end of the day, it’s just a reflection of how well this team has performed. Let people decide what they want to decide. Internally, we’re really proud.” (SMH)

The 100m freestyle champion here Kyle Chalmers said specifically regarding the United States, “They’ll always probably try and find a way to sneak it to make it look like they’re the better team.

“But I think this year we’ve done it, so hopefully they let us enjoy our moment.

“It’s always been gold medals, so I think this year will be no different.”

“It’s always satisfying standing on the podium and at times not have to listen to the American anthem and listen to our own,” Chalmers said. “It’s very proud when you get to see your Australian flag come up and stand with your teammates.” (SMH)

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Ken
7 months ago

The fact that golds were 13 to 7, have to give Australians props, but winning 13 more medals than the next closest is still pretty big. To say it’s only about golds is pissing on a lot of great athletes.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Ken
7 months ago

No one says it’s only gold that matters.

Fred
Reply to  Fukuoka Gold
7 months ago

Don Talbot did. Literally from the article, “Don Talbot always said the only thing that mattered was gold.”

Blastman
Reply to  Ken
7 months ago

What do we Americans say if we win 0 golds, 20 silver and 18 bronze? Or if we get shutout but claim team victory because we scored more top 16 points with no top 3 finishes?

theroboticrichardsimmons
7 months ago

Only looking at gold medals is stupid. If that’s how it’s traditional been done, that’s also stupid.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  theroboticrichardsimmons
7 months ago

You’re right. Looking at winners is stupid. Instead we should base the results off people who didn’t win.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
7 months ago

It’s American culture where everyone gets participation trophy

Swifter
7 months ago

That is not even a question.

Billy
7 months ago

Bob Bowman can coach anyone he wants to, it’s okay with me. Having foreign swimmers train in the USA only makes American swimmers better, it means tougher competition which is a good thing.

Billy
7 months ago

Gold medals count most, so the Aussies win and I’m American. Kyle Chalmers wins the gold medal in the tattoo competition by 10 seconds, no contest.

mds
7 months ago

The primary interest in sport is to perform to your personal maximum capability. Then you compete against others to try to have your performance superior to other folks at your competition.

It is kind of disgusting to read some of these comments suggesting it is only Gold that matters. You all make it sound like if you get Silver, or less, you may as well go home and quit. After Chalmers moved from Gold in Rio to Silver in Tokyo, why did he ever get in the pool again? And McEvoy. He went like a decade as one of the leaders going into major meets but not getting Golds. And if the broadcasters comments were accurate, I understand he… Read more »

Joel
Reply to  mds
7 months ago

Australians hit the wall first in some huge battles that were way too close to call before the race. So I don’t think you can say they should have.

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  mds
7 months ago

If all those people were betting favourites, then why didn’t SwimSwam pick MOC, Titmus, Kaylee, Short or Chalmers to win the events that they did?

Of course USA wins the most points when you give points to everyone who swims the event: they’re the only country that sends everyone who qualifies. Other countries without limitless resources only tend to send possible medallists. Even if USA didn’t win a single medal they still likely win the overall point system purely on size.

Ralph
Reply to  Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
7 months ago

Not if uou assign points to medals… USA wins that too …

Andrew
Reply to  Ralph
7 months ago

If I was an American,I would be embarrassed that a country with a population of roughly 340 million people could only manage to win just over half the races that Australia,with a small population of 26 million achieved.

Chad
7 months ago

Media is always such propaganda. They never wanna say something people don’t wanna hear. Aussies won, I’d take a single goal over 30 silvers any day.

Ralph
Reply to  Chad
7 months ago

Nah, would rather have a TEAM with 30 people able to get to silver than a single person capable of a single gold.

JohnCena
7 months ago

The Australians won a lot of golds in one stroke, the freestyle.

Because there are many more freestyle events and relays, that helped their totals.

More than the golds, it was the WRs the women set that impressed me.

Titmus’ 400 free was phenomenal. She is a master of pace for that event.

Lap Counter
Reply to  JohnCena
7 months ago

Didn’t Aussie women sweep backstrokes? Who knows what she might done in 2IM if not for an inconsistent dq?

Joshua Liendo-Edwards-Smith
Reply to  JohnCena
7 months ago

Australia won the most golds (and most overall medals) in freestyle events.
Australia won the most golds in backstroke.
China won the most golds in breaststroke.
France won the most golds in butterfly.
France won the most golds in IM.
Australia won the most relays.

Pretty disingenuous to suggest Australia only wins because of one stroke.

Fukuoka Gold
Reply to  JohnCena
7 months ago

I didn’t say anyone complained about this when USA swept freestyle events and relays in 2017 Budapest. Even Mallory Comerford won 5 golds LMFAO

All I heard was “Murrica Greatest Jeahhh!”

But when things didn’t go their way, they turned 180%.

Americans and double standard.

Name a more iconic duo.

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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